BELLEFONTE — As many other Centre County summer festivals have announced plans to sit out another year because of concerns about COVID-19, the Historic Bellefonte Cruise is moving forward with safety in mind.
The popular event has been a Bellefonte Father’s Day weekend tradition since 1988 and features a car show, Friday night Sock Hop, music, food and a marketplace. This year it is scheduled for June 18-19.
Cruise Director Pat McCool said he has met with the borough to discuss how the event would be held safely. During an April 5 meeting, the town council gave conditional approval for the event to move forward as long as all current COVID-19 protocols are in place, including social distancing, event capacity limits and the wearing of masks.
The streets committee, which recommended the approval, noted the event plans offer increased spacing of exhibitors and food vendors, while also monitoring for social distancing. Cruise organizers also plan to provide masks for those in attendance who do not have one.
Council member Doug Johnson said McCool was very cooperative and committed to having a successful event, adding that, “It’s just a great thing for Bellefonte.”
Council member Deborah Cleeton agreed the event would be good for the community, as long as safety measures are followed.
“I think it is a really good ‘toe in the water’ kind of event to see if we can accommodate a public event that typically draws quite a few participants,” said Cleeton. “Everything is uncertain at this point. It could change next week.”
Council member Randy Brachbill said the borough would need to continue to monitor the situation going forward, after the cancelation of other festivals and events.
“We have already had two major cancelations in State College with the Arts Festival and Boalsburg also canceled theirs, so that is something we need to keep an eye on,” said Brachbill.
Bellefonte Borough Assistant Manager Don Holderman told The Gazette the event was given conditional approval so organizers could start preparing for it and because it is fast approaching.
“The only thing that would probably prohibit it from occurring would be if things got worse. But, if things continue on the same trajectory, than there shouldn’t really be any issues,” said Holderman.
McCool said the event will need more volunteers to help monitor social distancing and masking. He said he also expects to have half as many vendors in the marketplace area to allow for social distancing.
“We are trying to be an example on how you do something as safe as possible and still have the event,” said McCool.